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CASE STUDY: Double Digit Growth

This case study illustrates a significant turnaround in sales force performance, by simultaneously addressing all main levers: strategy, structure, systems, productivity, skills.

This organisation had just been rigorously assessed by a global consultancy. The list of deficiencies was daunting.


  • Unclear market segmentation and sales strategies
  • Unresponsive customer facing sales organisation
  • State fiefdoms, with too little coordination of national business
  • Multiple productively roadblocks: too much administrative workload, little face to face time with customers
  • Sales people too busy “farming” existing clients: little new business drive
  • Clunky processes for Account Management and New Business Development
  • Managers not focused on developing people

A task force was in place to address product and physical distribution issues, which if unresolved would detract from sales credibility. This “operational” initiative worked in parallel.

The Challenge

The question posed to us was “How do we create a world class sales operation?”

The answer already existed in the Sales Management team: – 10 experienced and capable operators who’d been let down by unclear direction and inadequate tools to do the job.

This team accepted the prior consultancy recommendations, but felt that the sheer scope of recommendations was indigestible, and there were quicker ways to deliver the desired results.

The Solution

The client accepted our view that this team offered the highest probability of both rapid and sustainable change.

We helped them to brainstorm priorities and develop 5 priority project plans, each with a 4 week timetable (yes, just 4 weeks to design and begin to implement):

  • Sales Strategies and Marketing Collateral: segment priorities; clear statement of national sales strategy; appointing a contractor to redesign all sales/ marketing materials around strategic priorities
  • Hunter/ Farmer Sales Organisation: dividing existing customer account managers and new business hunters into separate teams. Preparing Position Descriptions, KPIs and Success Profiles. Delegating a more assertive role to telesales teams for small customers’ retention and development. Creating a national sales and accounts function
  • Key Account Management Process: a systematic process for major customer profiling and business development planning
  • New Business Sales Process: defining critical success factors by priority segment; mapping and measuring strike rates at each step of the new business sale
  • “Deconstipation”: identifying and removing the factors that prevented
    - Sales Managers from focusing on results through people
    - Account Managers from growing existing accounts
    - New business hunters from focus on the right prospects or speed of conversion

Our role was to support project teams with ideas, methodologies and design, where needed to hit milestones. It was their project.

Implementation and Training

The team reconvened 4 weeks later to review and polish project outputs and ensure both alignment and commitment.

There’s nothing like some big wins to prove the efficacy of change and motivate a team. We supported selected major sales to create that momentum.

All substantive changes were then made over a 3 month period, leading to training for all teams (Sales Management, KAMs, New Business, Internal Sales) on how to implement their own ideas.

Not surprisingly, these were the most committed training audiences we’ve ever worked with – they’d fixed it, they knew where they wanted to get to…the only issue was “how will we get there faster?”



The business was back on track. As the new National Sales Manager said:

“In the year ended June 30, our sales grew 14.1% which far outpaced market growth rate. This represented the first time in 5 years that we have been able to increase our market share.

With the majority of our operational improvement still to be rolled out, it is our belief that this growth has come directly from the increased competence and enthusiasm of our sales force.”

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